#1 humor site on the 'net

Proportional Representation - the Real Agenda

Sorting the wheat from the chaff in B.C. Politics

Proportional Representation - the Real Agenda thanks to John Winter

The Pros and Cons of the 2018 B.C. Referendum on Electoral Reform

Proportional Representation - the Real Agenda thanks to John Winter

Today (First Past the Post, FPTP) vs Proportional Representation (PR)

Proportional Representation - the Real Agenda thanks to John Winter

Referendum Ballot with FPTP (First Past the Post) Option Selected



'The Big Lie'

“In the coming weeks, British Columbians will be asked to vote in a very important referendum on changing how we elect our MLAs, not an insignificant initiative. We’ve rejected proportional representation twice before. It’s essential we do so a third time. I support our current voting system, which is simple, produces stable governments and is one of the institutional pillars that all our successes stand on. On the first question on the ballot, I urge you to vote in favour of First Past the Post (FPTP), option one. The alternative is to jump into the unknown. Three versions of Proportional Representation (PR) are on offer. Two have never been used or tried anywhere in the world and the third is presently used in just four countries. That third option is called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP). It was soundly rejected in BC by the hard-working Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform in 2005 because of the damage it does to local representation.

I point this out because there is a big lie in this referendum campaign. It underscores everything proponents of electoral reform say. The claims that PR jurisdictions out-perform ones like ours, or that PR improves voter turn-out or that the environment fares better under their preferred electoral system are not comparing apples to apples. Such claims stand on a foundation of misdirection, lies and obfuscations. That is because the electoral systems that inform the research findings are not even on the ballot in BC this fall.

The Yes side says PR is used in more than 80 countries. In truth, only four countries actually use any of the forms that appear on BC’s referendum ballot. The rest use some form of “list” PR. That means parties make lists of candidates to be elected, and seats are allocated based on the overall proportion of votes. Over 90% of the countries held up as examples use electoral systems BC isn’t even voting on. Citizens of countries that do use list system are becoming very uncomfortable with this form of election. The evidence is clear on at least two fronts.

First, radical parties of the left and the right are taking advantage of the low threshold to win a seat. They seize on voters’ fears and frustrations and run single-issue, municipal-style campaigns based on emotion, ignoring vast swathes of policy. You can see this today in Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, even Italy, which has had 61 governments in 67 years under such systems.

Secondly, countries are constantly fiddling with their electoral processes to try and make a flawed system work better. New Zealand has recently passed a bill that would strip MPs of their seat if they switch parties or their leader kicks them out of the party. Germany is trying for the third time to introduce a vote threshold to minimize small parties. The second question on our ballots in the fall referendum reflects the dense academic nature of this attempt to fix proportional representation.

Let’s look at the one option on the ballot used in the real world - MMP. Under this model 40% of the elected members are from party lists. This means constituencies will be at least 40% larger, with a real impact in the north and interior of BC. For example, the provincial riding of Stikine already large, if increased by 40% to allow for party lists, would be larger than New Zealand! Taking systems in use in small countries and transferring them to BC in a social experiment disenfranchises people outside the Lower Mainland. There is nothing fair about that. Local representation is cast aside.

On the No side, we know how important a local MLA is. Our current system, First Past the Post (FPTP) puts local representation first, where it should be. Most countries which use FPTP are or were members of the British Commonwealth. It is part of our heritage, part of who we are as Canadians, mirroring our Parliamentary traditions.

MMP is used for parliamentary elections in four countries including Germany and New Zealand. In Germany, it took almost six months to form a coalition government after last September's election, and is growing ever more fragile. Germany’s Bundestag is now home to seven parties, including radical parties on both the right and the left. Proportional representation amplifies their impact by giving them legitimacy and resources to advance their extremist agendas.

New Zealand recently switched electoral systems to MMP. It’s not going well. The current government is a hodge-podge of the Labour Party, the Greens and an anti-immigrant party called New Zealand First. The latter two members didn’t elect a single member in constituency elections by getting the most votes. They leveraged their seven percent of the popular vote into four cabinet posts, including that of Deputy Prime Minister.

This is the big lie.

PR promoters claim that proportional representation is the solution to all our electoral woes and point to its widespread use around the world. The truth is that the options we’ve been given are complex, esoteric and used in very few places with little experience to point to. We’ve rejected changing our system in referendums twice this century for very good reasons. How many more times do we have to go to this well? Another lie is in the details. All three options on the ballot leave the important details, including maps and the number of MLAs until after the referendum. It’s only then the NDP/Green marriage of convenience will carefully choose those to favour their electoral prospects. This referendum is a desperate move to give the Green party a permanent platform. If they can elect three people in a small corner of the province, they deserve three seats.

With apologies to Churchill, FPTP is the worst electoral system, except for all the others. Vote to keep our current system, and ignore the lies, vote to keep the status quo.”

by John Winter, Past President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, October 2018
 

The new guide from Elections B.C. doesn't tell us that, based on historical voting patterns, our future under proportional representation will consist entirely of successive minority governments, dickering for power through backroom deals with splinter groups. It doesn't tell us that the balance of power may be in the hands of any radical bunch that can get five per cent of the popular vote. It also doesn't tell us that all future provincial elections will be fought and decided in Vancouver and Victoria, while the rest of the province is relegated to insignificance. Pro-rep guarantees all three outcomes. Count me as a decided 'No! Clare Stevens, October 2018


QuotaBills
Vote early and vote often. - Al Capone

Politics makes strange postmasters. - Kin Hubbard

From politics, it was an easy step to silence. - Jane Austen

Government is an endless pursuit of new ways to tax. - Unknown

The severity of the itch is proportional to the reach. - Steven Wright

If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal. - Emma Goldman

We have the best government in the world... that money can buy. - Mark Twain

The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world. - Reinhold Niebuhr

The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government. - Edward Abbey

Politics is the chloroform of the Irish people, or, rather the hashish. - Oliver St. John Gogarty

Idealism is the despot of thought, just as politics is the despot of will. - Mikhail Bakunin

Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers. - Aristotle

The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop. - P.J. O'Rourke

The only thing we learn from new elections is we learned nothing from the old. - American Proverb

A good politician, under democracy, is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar. - H L Mencken

Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business. - Tom Robbins

Either the government will be given to us or we shall seize it by marching on Rome. - Benito Mussolini

The fastest way for a politician to become an elder statesman is to lose an election. - Earl Wilson

Everyone wants to eat at the government's table, but nobody wants to do the dishes. - Werner Finck

Of all the tasks of government, the most basic is to protect its citizens from violence. - John Foster Dulles

In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman. - Margaret Thatcher

We go by the major vote, and if the majority are insane, the sane must go to the hospital. - Horace Mann

There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you. - Will Rogers

Officialese: A government language where you can understand the words, but not the sentences - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

I think it's an absolute disaster that Australia, the government, allowed kangaroo culling. - Steve Irwin

What is the first part of politics? Education. The second? Education. And the third? Education. - Jules Michelet

Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions - it only guarantees equality of opportunity. - Irving Kristol

I confess I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. - H L Mencken

Democracy is very different in U.S. and A. from Kazakhstan. In America, woman can vote, but horse cannot! - Borat Sagdiyev

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. - Frederic Bastiat

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand. - Milton Friedman

Love, like democracy, can survive almost any attack - except neglect, indifference and maybe an arrow in the back. - Unknown

Politics is the only business where doing nothing other than making the other guy look bad is an acceptable outcome. - Mark Warner

Frankly, I'd like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private industry. - Joseph Heller

He is one of those wise philanthropists who, in a time of famine, would vote for nothing but a supply of toothpicks. - Douglas Jerrold

A democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates. - Gore Vidal

One lesson you better learn if you want to be in politics is that you never go out on a golf course and beat the President. - Lyndon B. Johnson

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. - John Quincy Adams

An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry. - George Eliot

If you make any money, the government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets, and all that don't get wet you can keep. - Will Rogers


The Meaning Of Life

Back To The Fuchsia

Horse Mane Macrame

Out Of Estrogen - Make My Day

Staff Communications

Sew It Seams

Muslim Camel

Sister DNA

Join The Resistance

Rabbi Road

Vatican Chess

Pentecost Sunday

Nun Chairs - Great Looking Legs

Organ Donor

Moldy Bible

Gyprock Prayer

Barn Art

Submarine Tea

NAACP Cover Up

Quad Shot

Princess Parking

Restaurant Wait-er

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?

Butterfly Lens